Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is a multisystem autosomal recessive disease with progressive clinical course involving the neuromuscular and endocrine system. Diabetes mellitus (DM) is one typical non-neurological manifestation, caused by beta cell failure and insulin resistance. Because of its rarity, knowledge on DM in FRDA is limited. Based on data from 200 301 patients with DM of the German-Austrian diabetes registry (DPV) and two exemplary patient reports, characteristics of patients with DM and FRDA are compared with classical type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Diabetes phenotype in FRDA is intermediate between type 1 and type 2 diabetes with ketoacidosis being frequent at presentation and blood glucose levels similar to T1Dm but higher than in T2Dm (356 ±165 and 384± 203 mg/dl). 63.2% of FRDA patients received insulin monotherapy, 21% insulin plus oral antidiabetics and 15.8% lifestyle change only, applying similar doses of insulin in all three groups. FRDA patients did not show overweight and HbA1c levels were even lower than in T1Dm or T2Dm patients, respectively, indicating good overall diabetes control. FRDADm can be controlled by individualized treatment regimen with insulin or oral antidiabetics. Patients with DM in FRDA may show a relevant risk to ketoacidotic complications, which should be avoided.
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